Art 3 – Figures by Domenic Cretara – Due 4/9


Domenic Cretara

Look at the following website and wander around to learn about this artist and his work.  View some of the Demo Videos in traditional classical drawing or painting methods.

(He currently has a show at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara until April 14 so if you are interested in his work and happen to be going over the hill this weekend or next, you may want to check it out.)

First, post comments about your responses to various art works by Cretara as well as any other information you find interesting about this artist.

In addition, post comments on ideas about drawing and painting that you learned from the demo videos. (Watch a minimum 6 minutes but you are encouraged to watch as much as you want!)


9 responses »

  1. I like how many things he sees in the human body. Most people just look at someone and say, “Yeah, that’s a guy,” but he sees the years of culture and emotional development. He also sees the human body like an artist, pointing out shapes and moods and shifting light.

    It’s interesting that he studied in Florence, since we just visited the studio of someone who also studied in Florence. I guess Florence is the place to go for this type of thing.

    Okay, his 2011 paintings creep me out. They’re all dolls, just scary-looking dolls. So, I don’t like that. The rest of his work is much better. My favorite works of his are Artist and Model, Self Portrait and Maddelyn.

    From the videos I learned that, whether in painting or drawing, it’s important to get the basic shapes down first. Don’t put in detail; keep it loose (but accurate). Use lines to indicate the gesture, direction, and planes. Be fluid.

    • The doll paintings are my favorites because of the way he is able to distort the space and use foreshortening and that is a current fascination of mine with both photography and painting. The dolls are a perfect motif for formal play. But you are right in reading them symbolically, and I can see how they seem creepy. The curator’s statement at the exhibit stated that the dolls may relate to the concept of the Golem in Jewish folklore, a “surrogate human” and symbol for the “shades of humanity.” They definitely offer up a lot of food for thought.

  2. I really liked his work, especially the earlier stuff he did, because of his attention to detail in such a nonchalant way. My favorite was Caretaker becuase it was such a simple scene but he was able to integrate his personal style, and brush strokes, but also pay close attention to human forms and correctly portraying them. I also like the work he did in florence- so simple, yet you can see that there is thought in every form.
    From looking through his art and the videos I learned a lot. He really focused on starting off with a rough sketch- all in straight lines- to space where the figure was. But unlike how I’ve been taught and seen, He didnt use the gestural technique. He didnt use big sweeping shapes to block out the body and head and hair and feature. He chose to look at the model, then precisely put down one line or shape that defines a feature. Very cool to watch! He also worked in layers of light which I think is very effective in making the person look real. I like how the medium tone is the base one- not the lightest as we normally do on white paper. I hope to keep his techniques in mind, slow down, and really take time to get a solid outline of the figure before starting any details.

    • These are good clarifications of the methods he used, a variation of the sight-size Florentine method, with what we have done, the gestural Nickolaides “Expressive Figure Drawing” technique. I prefer a kind of combination and many artist’s, as their style develops, will take from both schools. It all depends on what you want the final result to be.

  3. The more I look through Cretara’s work the weirder I think he really is. Right off the bat there’s an entire album dedicated to art of creepy dolls (as referenced by Lackless) and then in his 2000-2010 and his 1980-1989 albums he painted people in a very realistic way with weird quirk somewhere in the painting that made it somewhat unreal. I also really liked the Caretaker and his portraits of his family and himself but often there would be ghosts, or him riding a horse out the front door, or, like in Autobiography, all normal looking, realistic people but smooshed together in a room so that everyone looked out of place, or his painting Blasphemy. I don’t even have to explain that one.
    Hahahaha, I started the first video in Drawing and jumped when he spoke cause his voice was so high; was not expecting that… Anyways, watching this after going on the field trip today was interesting because it made me wonder about his training because I found myself comparing how he drew and used his hand to how the woman at the tannery said she drew, straight arm and whatnot. She was using a different style than him, the sight-size method (is that right?) but I like both of them; her drawings were more technical (even though I liked hers a bit more) and his, in my opinion, more stylistic.

    • Check out the response to Lackless. The curator places the dolls as a symbol of a Golem from Jewish folklore and I am fascinated by them for purely pictorial reasons. But I’m sure lots of people read them as a nightmarish “Twilight Zone” due to the chiaroscuro and dramatic lighting.

  4. This is incredible..I really do love this guys art. I love the way he takes figures and and photographs them in positions and then sort of pieces them together. I definitely want to try this style of working sometime. I was not too crazy about his doll paintings, but I loved the self portraits and nude paintings. I love how he doesn’t stick to technicality and realism but takes his inspiration from that genre and creates his own style. He uses lots of levels to depict messages or meanings and from the color of his paintings, to the positioning of the figures…he really takes everything into account and has an explanation for everything he incorporates into his paintings. I thought it was interesting that he had a sketch book, and only much later after he drew the ideas he would compose his painting. Overall I really enjoyed his system and style of working as well as his mish mosh of technical and surreal and stylistic paintings and drawings.

  5. I think Cretara’s work is amazing. Sure, some of the art is creepy, like Michelangelo and Lackless mentioned his 2011 paintings of dolls. But overall, I think the quality of the work is excellent. I really like the color scheme he used for most of his paintings (dark with lots of shading, mixed with intense colors). His portraits are just incredible. The figure is so hard to draw and Cretara specializes in it. In his commentary he explains how drawing the human figure is a passion for him and a visual inspiration. My favorite paintings of his were from his 90’s and 2000’s albums. I think it’s cool he did his work in Florence – I think it gave him inspiration. Watching the videos gave me a better sense of how to go about figure drawing. He would look at his model, then draw basic lines outlining the shape and proportions. I think it’s important to start basic and work your way into the details. And Cretara’s work and Lisa’s work from our field trip yesterday taught me this.

    • I’m so glad you had the oportunity to see Lisa’s work in relation to Cretara’s. Just take from each what you find most useful for your development along the lines of your artistic intentions.

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